Teacher and beekeeper

Born: June 7, 1937;

Died: April 17, 2018

IAN Craig, who has died aged 80, was a teacher and beekeeper who, as a senior figure in the Scottish Beekeeping Association and other organisations, had a profound influence on beekeepers and beekeeping in Scotland. As education convener of the SBA for many years, Mr Craig travelled all over the country putting beekeepers through their practical exams. For many beekeepers, his presence, patience and knowledge was invaluable.

Born John (Ian) Craig in June 1937 to Hugh and Janet, on a sheep farm in Galloway, Ian’s childhood was idyllic in many ways, running around in the open air with the sheep dogs, out in the meadows, with the blossom and the insects and the bees. From an early age he understood nature and had a love of it and was familiar with its rhythms and cycles.

He went to the local primary school and then received his secondary education at Douglas Ewart High in Newton Stewart. From there he moved up to Glasgow and went on to Jordanhill Training College to study technical studies. It was there in 1956 that he met Aileen, who was studying to become a primary school teacher. Friendship grew, love blossomed and they married in July 1962. Ian and Aileen went on to have three children, Alistair, Ronald and Fiona, who in turn bore their grandchildren, Laura, John, Jessica and Scott

Mr Craig taught technical subjects in several schools in the Glasgow and Renfrewshire area including Petershill Secondary, Colston secondary, Kingsridge secondary, Thomas Aquinas secondary and Johnstone High. From 1969 he became a lecturer in technical education at Jordanhill College. He covered subjects such as engineering, engineering drawing, craft and design, woodwork, computer aided design and more. He was also a national examiner and principal examiner for technical subjects for the Scottish Examination Board, and an inspirational teacher.

Mr Craig was a beekeeper from the age of 13 back on the farm in Galloway, after a local farmer left him a hive and colony of local honey bees. He was great supporter of the Scottish Beekeeping Association (SBA) having joined them in 1970 and completed two three-year terms as SBA president.

In 1994, he joined the executive of the SBA and took on the role of education convener, only relinquishing it in 2012. This role, which he revamped extensively, kept him extremely busy in promoting education matters, marking exams and travelling all over the country putting beekeepers through their practical exams. This is how many Scottish beekeepers met and knew Mr Craig.

There was an upside to this travelling though, as he did this extensively with Aileen and they travelled with their dogs and he and Aileen were able to spend time together this way. Mr Craig was proud to have said he had visited all the beekeeping associations throughout Scotland, and many across the wider UK and Ireland.

Mr Craig was not only a member of Kilbarchan and District Beekeepers' Association, but secretary for 36 years before retiring in late 2015. Also in addition to being a member of Glasgow and District Beekeepers for many years he also presided over this association and the Clyde and Area Beekeepers Association. It is these associations who benefited most from having Mr Craig as a member and office bearer.

Mr Craig was also a past chairman of the Council of National Beekeeping Associations UK and Ireland. He was a keen and able honey show competitor and judged at many of the UK National honey shows and at the Royal Highland Show.

Not only did beekeepers all over the UK appreciate Ian Craig, but in the 2013 New Years Honours list, the Queen did too and in July, Mr Craig was invested at Holyrood Palace with an MBE for his services to beekeeping. He accepted this award not only for his personal contribution, but also on behalf of all beekeepers in the UK and Ireland.

Although the voice of the teacher is silent, Mr Craig's legacy lives on in beekeeping circles and through all the beekeepers who have benefitted from his knowledge, counsel and practical skills. For those who knew him in other ways, it lives on in the skills he helped to impart at Jordanhill Teacher’s College and other teaching locations in the Glasgow and Renfrewshire areas, and it lives on with his beloved wife, children and grandchildren alike, who knew and loved him best.

Mr Craig received fabulous care from the staff in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde during his illness. He is is survived by Aileen, sons Alistair, Ronald and daughter Fiona and grandchildren Laura, John, Jessica and Scott.